More and more farmers and rural SME´s in Europe, struggling to survive in a rapidly changing agricultural and economical environment, appreciate the growing interest in local and niche products as a possibility to continue their activities. Although consumers seem to favour local, authentic and healthy food, they experience difficulties in accessing it. Part of the imports that currently satisfy the growing demand could be replaced by local products, however the companies involved in the supply chain of local and organic food products need to become more professional and competitive.
The MARLO project aims to improve the competitiveness of rural SMEs by introducing a Methodological Training Tool in Marketing of Local and Organic Food Products, and to encourage sustainable development of rural areas. The project is based upon the transfer of the results of LdV project ProudFarmer that was successfully completed by a partnership of 6 organisations from Latvia, France, Italy, Slovenia and Romania in 2010. Adapted training programme has been tested and evaluated in Spain, Latvia, Cyprus and Lithuania.
The objectives of MARLO included needs analysis; sharing experiences in promotion of local and organic products and marketing training; adaptation of ProudFarmer training tool to the requirements of the target group and project countries; testing and evaluation; creation of local and international networking and cooperation opportunities for the target group; dissemination and preparation of appropriate mechanisms/processes for further exploitation of project results.
The project has been implemented by a consortium of 7 partners from 5 EU countries spanning from North to South of Europe (Spain, Cyprus, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania). It includes training and consulting organisations and associations active in organic farming and tourism, thus allowing to combine different views and experiences and achieve the expected impact of the project. The main outcome has been a Methodological Training Tool in Marketing of Local and Organic Food Products (training programme, manual, case studies) in Spanish, Latvian, Greek, Lithuanian and English. The project has also produced a number of results that has been used for dissemination (project website, leaflets, conference) and helped to promote the project and exploit its results.
The primary target group of the project are rural SMEs involved in production, marketing and sales of local and organic food products. The project has helped to significantly increase their access to training, improve their qualifications in the area of marketing and increase competitiveness. It has also contributed to the development of this type of businesses and economic re-vitalisation of rural areas in partner countries. It is expected that after the completion of the project the results could also be "exported" to the other geographical areas of Europe.
This project begun on 1st of October 2013 and finished on 30th September 2015.